Apr 19, 2024 - News

Cambridge's first Black woman-owned dispensary opens

An interior shot of Yamba Boutique, a Black-woman-owned cannabis dispensary in the site of a former Cambridge police station.

Yamba Boutique. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

After two years of building and permitting delays, Harvard Square has a cannabis dispensary.

Zoom in: Yamba Boutique opened this week at 31 Church St., a small brick building that once housed a Cambridge police station.

  • The jail cell in the back is now an inventory room.
  • The boutique is a Black woman-owned dispensary catering to women, seniors, vets and queer people — really, anyone who hasn't felt seen in the cannabis scene, says CEO Leah Samura.

Axios took a peek inside.

A shelving unit showing orange-tinted bongs, clay pipes and books behind the counter at Yamba Boutique in Cambridge.
The vast majority of non-regulated products — bongs, pipes, apparel — came from other Black woman-owned brands, CEO Leah Samura says. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios
Yamba Boutique GM Shani Joseph, left, looks on as CEO Leah Samura, right, bends over to look at a laptop screen inside Yamba Boutique.
Yamba Boutique GM Shani Joseph, left, and CEO Leah Samura, right. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios
A plaque at the entry of Yamba Boutique says: "On this site in 1864, a police station was built in the shadow of Harvard Univeristy, one of the most elite and historically white institutions in the country. Over 150 years later, this location is now the first majority woman-owned and 100% black owned cannabis establishment in Cambridge. Through education, accessibility and women's empowerment, Yamba Boutique is committed to ending the harmful and misguided persecution on cannabis use.""
A plaque stating Yamba's mission at the entry. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios
A black jacket that states "Buy Weed From Women" hands on the wall at Yamba Boutique, one of several pieces of apparel for sale at the dispensary.
Photo: Steph Solis/Axios
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